Do you suffer from chronic or occasional migraine headaches? If so, what do you know about acupressure? Have you ever tried acupressure yourself? Maybe you have tried or heard of acupuncture, a more common term (and practice) that’s thrown around. While acupuncture is the use of needles to target pressure points located throughout the body, acupressure is the use of palms and fingers to stimulate the same pressure points. If you’ve (1) been looking for a way to relieve and prevent migraines without the use of medication, and/or (2) been interested in acupuncture but are wary of the use of needles: acupressure could be your answer.
Pressure points (used in acupuncture and acupressure) are located along meridians. Meridians are pathways in the body that carry energy and allow for blood flow. Each meridian is associated with a major organ in the body, such as the stomach, large intestine, bladder, and so on. Stimulating one pressure point will allow for energy and blood to flow throughout that meridian, promoting healing and peace in the body. Since each meridian flows all throughout the body, the benefits of pressure points are not restricted just to their respective meridians. For example, a point on the gall bladder meridian could greatly benefit the back, or a point on the bladder meridian could help the eyes. The combination of points and their benefits are endless.
Headaches can be triggered by changes in temperature/pressure and hormonal imbalances, which can be difficult to control on your own. Migraines are said to occur when blood vessels in the brain dilate rapidly for some reason. They can be caused by stress, malaise, lack of sleep, and fluctuations in female hormones. Symptoms can be exacerbated by intense light or sound stimuli. Though medicine can be (and oftentimes, is) the answer for many people, not everyone wants to take prescription or over-the-counter medication for migraines – in fact, for many people, it can make the headaches worse! Acupressure is a safe and effective way to treat these root causes, by increasing blood flow and relaxation. That’s why we’re introducing this article, breaking down the best pressure points for migraines relief. Read on for the best pressure points for migraines and how the effectiveness of acupressure for migraines has been proven.
Is Acupuncture Effective For Migraines?
Short answer: yes! One study aimed to evaluate exactly this question – the efficacy of acupuncture on chronic migraines. The scientists tested 66 patients over 12 weeks, finding a significant decrease in the number of migraine headaches and only finding adverse effects in 6% of the patients.
Another study compiled the data from trials over 10 years: all of which evaluate the statistical efficacy of acupuncture on migraines. After analyzing 49 studies, they concluded that consistent acupuncture reduced the frequency of migraines compared to those who received no treatment.
Both of these studies, along with some more we discuss below, prove that acupuncture is extremely effective for migraines.
Is It Possible To Cure Migraine Headaches With Acupuncture?
Short answer: yes, again! Acupuncture can not only relieve a migraine headache immediately but can also prevent its frequency in the future. One study looks at the long-term effects, showing short-term and long-term benefits over 6 months after just one acupuncture session; more acupuncture sessions had even longer long-term benefits. Migraine headaches can definitely be cured with acupuncture and acupressure.
Does Acupressure Help Migraines?
Acupressure, just like acupuncture, can do wonders for people who suffer from migraines. A study shows acupuncture’s long-term and short-term benefits to migraines, showing an improved quality of life in patients who use acupuncture for headaches. Acupressure is just a derivative of acupuncture, using fingers and palms instead of needles. Acupressure will certainly, as it has shown historically, have the same benefits as acupuncture. So, yes: acupressure will greatly help migraines.
What Pressure Point Relieves Migraines?
There are many acupressure points that can help relieve migraines. We believe (and discuss below) the best ones are: Bl-2, Gv-20, Gb-8, Li-4, Bl-66, Em-5, Gb-41, and Bl-60. We discuss all these acupoints below, in more detail and explaining how to stimulate them. We aren’t the only ones who think these particular pressure points are great for migraines – one study acknowledges points like Gb-8 and Li-4 as critical to the list of acupressure points for migraines.
Acupoint: Bl-2 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-2/Zan Zhu/Gathered Bamboo)
Bl-2 is a great acupressure point when you have pain in your eyes due to migraines – one extremely common side effect. It can help relieve this pain, as well as reduce hiccups and spasms in the diaphragm. This point is included on our list of acupressure points for eyes – check out that article to see how to strengthen and nourish your eyes while reducing pain and eye pressure.
Bl-2 is easy to find – it is simply on the innermost part of your eyebrow. Start massaging this point gently, as it can be sensitive for many people. Massage with pressure, on and off, for several minutes.
Acupoint: GV-20 (Other Names: The Governing Vessel-20/Bai Hui/Hundred Convergence)
Featured frequently on our site and in our articles, Gv-20 is an all-around great acupressure point. This point will help with migraines, dizziness, vertigo, coma, and even insomnia. Believe it or not, One Hundred Meetings is one of the best acupressure points for depression – check that out for how to treat and mitigate depression with acupressure.
Gv-20 is very easy to locate and stimulate by yourself. It is simply located at the topmost part of your head, right in the center. Press on this point for about 3-5 minutes to reap its full benefits. If you have difficulty finding this acupoint, have a friend or family member help you.
Acupoint: GB-8 (Other Names: Gallbladder-8/Shuai Gu/Leading Valley)
Gb-8, located on the gall bladder meridian, dispels wind and clears the head, resulting in many benefits such as relief from migraines, vomiting, vertigo, and convulsions in children. Another point located on the head, be gentle when stimulating it as the area can be sensitive to most people. Gb-8 is located 1.5 cun above the top-most part of the ear.
Hold your hand and use the joints of your index and middle fingers to apply equal force toward the back of your head about five to ten times. After that, change the place a little and repeat about 5 to 10 times.
Acupoint: LI-4 (Other Names: Large Intestine-4/He Gu/Joining Valley)
Another acupoint that we frequently discuss, Junction Valley is an incredibly useful and versatile acupoint. Located on the hand, Li-4 will help with various diseases of the head, the average cold and fever, abdominal and gastric pain, constipation, diarrhea, sores, scabies, and much more. We feature Li-4 in our article on acupressure points for back pain – that’s right, a point on the hand can help with pain in the back! Junction Valley can accomplish these incredible feats by expelling wind from the body, strengthening immunity, and regulating heat.
This is another easy acupoint to find. Locate the fleshy area on your hand in between your thumb and forefinger. Pinch this area with your other thumb and forefinger. Now, move your pinched fingers back about half an inch. Apply pressure for three seconds then takes pressure off for three seconds; repeat this pattern for one minute.
Acupoint: Bl-66 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-66/Zu Tong Gu/Foot Valley Passage)
Located on the bladder meridian, Bl-66 is another great acupressure point for migraines (specifically when you have pain in the back of your head) not actually located on the head. Foot Valley Passage will also help with rigidity of the neck, dizziness, and even manic episodes.
Bl-66 is located on the foot. On the outermost part of your foot, find the dent in the joint of your pinky toe that protrudes outward at the base where the pinky toe and foot meet. Press on this point (again, on the outermost part) to stimulate this acupressure point for migraine relief.
Together with GV-20 and LI-4, these are instant migraine relief pressure points.
Acupoint: EM-5 (Other Names: /Tai Yang/)
Not located on a “traditional” meridian, Em-5 is still an incredibly effective and versatile acupressure point nonetheless. Em-5 can really and truly help with migraines. We include Em-5 in our face acupressure points chart article, where we discuss the best pressure points to bring energy to your face and reduce swelling.
Em-5 is very easy to find and stimulate – in fact, you’ve likely stimulated it before! It’s located in the traditional “temple massage” region on your head. If you don’t know where this is, find the outermost part of your eyebrows and move your fingers out and half an inch. You should feel a slight depression in the region. The best way to stimulate Em-5 is with your thumb, for about 10 seconds and for 10 times.
Acupoint: GB-41 (Other Names: Gallbladder-41/Zu Lin Qi/Foot Governor of Tears)
Another acupoint located on the gall bladder meridian, Gb-41 provides many benefits to the body. Stimulating this acupoint can help with the following ailments: migraine, breast distention in women, pain and redness in the eye, foot pain, malaria, and more. Check out our article on the UB64 acupuncture point, where we discuss the best pressure points (including Gb-41) for people whose jobs require them to stand for an extended period of time.
This is another point located on the foot. Find the point where your pinky toe and the toe right next to it meet. Move your finger directly back from this point about 2-3 cuns (find a dent) and stimulate Gb-41.
Acupoint: Bl-60 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-60/Kun Lun/Kunlun Mountains)
The final on our list of acupressure points for migraine treatment is Bl-60, located on the bladder meridian. The Kunlun Mountains pressure point will help with migraines, lumbar pain, stiffness in the neck, dizziness, convulsions in children, and difficulty in labor for women giving birth. We have an article on the best acupressure points for heel pain, where Bl-60 is featured – be sure to check that article out if you suffer from chronic or occasional pain in your heel.
Bl-60 is located on the leg. Locate the knobby ankle bone on the outside of your ankle. Move your finger back (directly towards your Achilles tendon) about one cun. Apply pressure to stimulate this pressure point, but be gentle at first, as Bl-60 can be sensitive for many people.